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How Business Insurance Coverage Works

1/14/2022 (Permalink)

Floor water damage. Water damage in a commercial building in Colorado Springs, CO.

Your business in Colorado Springs, CO, needs protection from a variety of potential problems. Basic property insurance is a must, but you also may benefit from flood or storm insurance. While your insurance agent is able to advise you on the policies that you should include in your commercial package, it doesn't hurt to have an overview of the information before you meet with him or her.

Types of Coverage

It takes a village of policies to cover a commercial property adequately. There are several types of insurance coverage to think about:

  • Property insurance – covers general repairs, such as water damage from leaks, caused by accidents or external factors
  • Flood insurance – covers more extensive damage caused by prolonged rainfall, overflowing rivers and streams, and breaking dams or levees.
  • Storm insurance – covers damage from wind, hail, or other elements of the specific storms listed in the policy

You may also consider a business continuity policy so that you have the working capital to stay afloat while storm remediation experts are working to return your building to an inhabitable space.

Dollar vs. Percentage

Insurance policies can have different types of deductibles. Many plans have dollar deductibles. A specific amount stated in the policy must be paid before insurance kicks in. These deductibles are often determined by the standard rate for the area, and raising the amount may result in lower premiums for the policy. A percentage deductible is sometimes used in storm and flood policies to lower the risk for the insurance company. Because the damage covered by these policies tends to be large, so do the payouts. This deductible depends on a percentage of the property's overall value.

When shopping for commercial insurance coverage, a basic property policy isn't enough to cover everything that might come your way. It's a good idea to add additional policies, such as flood and storm insurance, so that you can be confident that you will be able to overcome any damage that happens to your property.

The 4 Steps of the Roof Damage Cleanup Process

1/14/2022 (Permalink)

Roof leak damage Roof leak in a Colorado Springs, CO building.

Many people think of flooding as something that happens at the base of a building. Floodwaters rise and break over barriers to flood the basement and bottom floors. Another common flooding problem associated with storms, however, is a roof leak. If the roof of your commercial building in Colorado Springs, CO, gets damaged, rain can seep in and cause further problems. Here are the steps to resolve those problems.

Steps To Cleaning Roof Damage.

1. Drying Area

The first thing that has to happen when missing shingles cause water damage in your attic or top floor is for all the excess water to be removed. Water remediation professionals use industrial pumps to remove standing water. They may increase airflow in the affected area to dry surfaces. Making sure the area is dried quickly can help prevent secondary damage such as mold growth.

2. Removing Damage

If the roof leak is significant, there may be a lot of damage not just to the roof but also to the layers of the building directly underneath it. Waterlogged walls or ceilings are no longer structurally sound. Materials have to be torn out if they cannot be salvaged. 

3. Disinfecting Surfaces

Because flood water is contaminated, everything it touches must be sanitized. Professional strength cleaners are used to remove bacteria and other harmful substances. Afterward, the surfaces can be tested to ensure that they are clean.

4. Rebuilding Roof

After the cleaning is finished, the technicians repair the damaged roof. They make sure the base is strong and well-sealed against further leaks. Then they replace the shingles that are broken or missing. If any interior parts need to be rebuilt, they can do that as well.

A roof leak doesn’t always show signs of significant damage at first, so it’s important not to forget the roof in your inspection after a flood. You can avoid further problems by addressing any roof issues in a timely manner.

Business Interruption: Minimizing Flood Loss and Delays

1/13/2022 (Permalink)

Flooded Office. As an owner in Colorado Springs, CO, Minimize Flood Loss and Delays by following these important tips.

The last thing any business wants after experiencing flooding or any disaster is extensive business interruption. Business interruption accounts for any losses incurred as a company attempts to recover from the loss.

Important Tips to minimize Flood Loss and Delays

After a flood, a business might need to shut down all operations or move essential operations off-site. The closure and move might cost the company revenue. Business interruption insurance can help mitigate any financial losses, but coverage depends on the policy.

The goal to a quick recovery is to hire a restoration service in Colorado Springs, CO, especially a company with familiarity in water loss. These services can help in a few key areas, including:

  • Loss mitigation
  • Disaster Cleanup
  • Property restoration

Flooding and Business Interruption

Many businesses, especially aging operations, can experience a broken pipe, leading to a flood. Depending on the hours of operation, a break can go unnoticed for several hours or several days, resulting in a significant accumulation of water.

The longer water is left to stand, the greater the opportunity for compounding problems. For instance, a flood can lead to mold development in as few as 48 hours.

Companies should have guards, cameras, or notification systems in place to reduce the risk of extensive flooding or unmonitored periods. However, beyond preventative measures, companies should also have a qualified mitigation service on standby for remediation and recovery.

Mitigation and Recovery

Extensive or large water damage is costly, and it is time-consuming to clean and repair. The standard restoration service has a three-pronged approach to the recovery process: mitigate, clean, and restore.

Mitigation involves stopping the flow of water and limiting or restricting the damage. It can include shutting off and repairing pipes or supply valves or using tarps and buckets to trap and catch water.

Cleaning is aimed at removing excess water and disinfecting the facility. Most restoration services will use various tools, including:

  • Shop vacuums
  • Fans
  • Blowers
  • Dehumidifiers

Finally, the service will focus on restoration, which means restoring the facility to pre-disaster conditions. As a business owner, you likely care about the timeline to recovery and restoration, but that will depend on the specific cause of your business's disaster.

Qualified Restoration Services

The key to working with a restoration professional is to only work with those who are qualified. A company should have a license and insurance. You should verify this information with the certifying bodies, ensuring you are working with a real and proven professional.

One credential to look for in any restoration service is the IICRC. Any company bearing those initials has proven its understanding of fundamental disaster response requirements. Insurance is also essential for any restoration service. Suppose the company working on your site does not have adequate or proper insurance. In that case, your business is potentially on the hook for any damages or injuries that occur on your property.

While no business owner wants to experience flooding, it can happen. The best any owner can do is limit their exposure and business interruption through planning and making necessary connections and arrangements with qualified restoration services. It is vital that you do not waste time after a flood. The sooner your property is restored, the sooner you can get back to business.

Prevent a Dryer Fire With Cleaning Tips

1/5/2022 (Permalink)

Dryer being cleaned. Consider these Cleaning Tips to prevent a Dryer Fire in your Colorado Springs, CO house.

While dryers are some of the most pleasant appliances in the home, they are also, sadly, one of the most dangerous when it comes to home fires. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, nearly 3,000 fires are caused by dryers each year. The most common of those fires is the lint fire.

You can tell if you have too much lint built up in your appliance:

  • It takes longer to get clothes dry.
  • Clothes are moist after a cycle.
  • The appliance feels hot when you touch it.
  • You can smell the heat from your appliance.
  • There's a lot of humidity in your laundry room.
  • There's very little air coming from the exhaust vent.

You should empty the lint trap every time you run a cycle through the dryer, but even with this step, there may still be lint trapped throughout the dryer and through the vent. Cleaning Tips To Prevent a Lint Fire With a little bit of prevention, you can improve the efficiency of your dryer and reduce the risk of a dryer fire in your Colorado Springs, CO home.

Bear in mind these Cleaning Tips to prevent a Dryer Fire

Clean the Lint Screen

The screen in your dryer may be at the top of the machine, on the side, or at the bottom front inside the door. Pull this out every time you run a cycle and remove the lint from the screen. If the screen needs more attention, you can run it under the faucet in your sink and rinse thoroughly until it is free of dust and residue from dryer sheets.

Vacuum the Screen Vent

This step doesn't need to be repeated with every cycle but should be completed after most loads. Use the attachment on your vacuum to remove lint you can't reach by hand. Vacuuming the lint from the vent prevents clogs and keeps lint out of the other compartments of the dryer.

Deep Clean the Machine

If you have an older dryer or if your appliances are attached to gas lines, contact an appliance professional to perform deep cleans. Unplug the dryer and pull it away from the wall. Look for the access panel at the back or side of the appliance. Once it is open, use a vacuum and soft rag to remove any lint, debris, and the occasional sock. Be gentle around the heating element and wiring. With everything cleaned up, reattach the access panel. An appliance, vent, and exhaust hose deep clean should be done every six months at least. Do this more often if you run a lot of loads of laundry.

Clean the Vents and Exhaust Hose

The machine should be unplugged and pulled out for this task. Carefully find the exhaust hose and loosen the O-ring clamp that keeps the hose in place. Watch for clamps at both ends of the hose and have a screwdriver handy to remove any bolts. Once the hose is unclamped, use a vacuum or long brush to remove lint and debris. Use a cleaning rod to reach into the wall; these are available at hardware stores. Follow the directions on the package for the best results.

Cleaning the lint from your dryer regularly is a great way to avoid a lint fire. If your home has suffered from fire damage, contact fire and smoke cleanup professionals for repairs and restoration.

Don’t Be Sorry, Be Proactive about Preventative Business Measures

12/10/2021 (Permalink)

Equipment drying a carpet SERVPRO equipment drying out this commercial building.

A pipe break can lead to water damage which ultimately leads to filing a business claim. The claim process can be extensive and can cause an interruption in the business for days or possibly weeks. Taking small steps now, however, can reduce the risk of having to file any water-related claim.

Steps to Avoid a Pipe Break

1. Insulate Exposed Pipes

Insulating any pipes that are exposed to frigid temperatures can reduce the risk of burst pipes. The insulation will prevent the buildup of ice inside the pipe; therefore, reducing the risk of increased pressure.

2. Maintain a Consistent Temperature

Allowing a building to go below 55°F consistently dramatically increases the risks of frozen pipes and pipe breaks as well as filing a business claim and should be avoided if possible.

3. Keep Drainage Areas Clear

Preventing minor flooding can be as easy as keeping drainage areas clear. This can be done by inspecting drains, downspouts, and gutters frequently to ensure that there are no blockages that would encourage backflow.

4. Remove Excess Snow

Another way of preventing minor flooding and even possible roof damage is to remove any excess snow. Snow not only increases the load on your roof but during the thaw it is possible that the melting snow will seep into minor imperfections and weaken the structure of the roof.

5. Fix Leaks and Cracks

It may also be a good idea to regularly walk the perimeter of your building, checking the foundation in the exterior for any cracks or leaks. Any minor imperfections can usually be corrected with exterior sealants; however, significant cracks may require the use of a restoration company in the Colorado Springs, CO, area.

6. Protect Valuable Items

While performing any of these preventative steps can reduce the risk of water damage, it may still be wise to protect any valuable items by keeping them above ground level and even in waterproof bins.

While a business claim is not necessarily a bad thing, it can take time to process, and that is valuable time that your business cannot afford to lose, which is why it’s better to be proactive rather than sorry.

What Is Category Three Water Damage?

11/26/2021 (Permalink)

Category three water Category three of water can ruin your Colorado Springs, CO home.

When your Colorado Springs, CO, home is affected by a flood, you may not immediately be thinking about the degree of toxins in the water. Water damage is probably your first concern; it needs to be removed as soon as possible to mitigate the damage. Unfortunately, it can be much more severe than just the damage caused by the water. There are three categories of floodwater, with category 3 (aka black water) being extremely contaminated, containing hazardous materials like raw sewage and chemicals.

What To Expect During Category Three Flood Damage Restoration

Because of the toxicity of category 3 water, it's essential to call water damage restoration experts to handle the cleanup. They have the expertise and professional equipment to safely and thoroughly clean and inspect the home. Here is what you can expect during the process:

1. Personal Protective Equipment

The cleanup crew will wear PPE to protect their safety and cross-contamination to unaffected areas of the building. This PPE will include hair covers, safety goggles, respirators, coveralls, gloves, and rubber boots.

2. Inspection

The professionals will thoroughly inspect the area to determine the extent and severity of the damage. This inspection will help them decide what measures to use to restore the space.

3. Containment

The team will contain the affected area using heavy plastic sheeting, negative air chambers, or other measures. This containment will help prevent cross-contamination and keep unauthorized people out of the work area to maintain everyone's safety.

4. Extract Standing Water

The experts will then extract the standing water from the area by using industrial pumps. This is an effective way to remove a lot of black water and smaller debris quickly.

5. Remove Remaining Solid Debris

Next, they'll remove the solid debris, such as raw sewage, from the area. This is usually performed with shovels.

6. Remove Contents

All contents, both damaged and undamaged, will be removed to be either disposed of or cleaned and restored.

7. Tear Out

Damaged materials such as drywall and carpeting will be torn out and removed. The soaked areas will not be salvageable due to the water damage and contamination that can lead to more issues such as mold.

8. Clean and Sanitize

The technicians will thoroughly clean and sanitize everything that remains. This is one of the most critical parts of the sewage cleanup process.

9. Dry

The entire area and its contents will then have to be dried thoroughly and within 48 hours. The professionals will use industrial-grade fans, dehumidifiers, heaters, and other means to remove the remaining moisture.

10. Inspect

The technicians will perform a final inspection. The inspection will help them ensure that the area is free of contaminants, additional damage, and possible mold growth.

11. Rebuild

After the cleanup process is complete, it's time to rebuild the part of the destroyed structure. New flooring and other materials will probably be required.

A home flood is a traumatic experience; water can ruin a lot fast. When it's black water, the severity is much worse, though. Hopefully, you will never be affected by category 3 floodwaters, but now you know what to expect during the restoration process if you are.

Frozen Pipes: Insurance Coverage and Prevention

11/17/2021 (Permalink)

Cold person. Prevent frozen pipes to avoid filing an insurance claim in your Colorado Springs, CO home.

With the winter months ahead, many homeowners are checking to see what their insurance will and won’t cover in terms of winter damage, like frozen pipes. Most policies cover accidental or sudden damage to a home’s plumbing, meaning you can file an insurance claim for a bike break due to a pipe freeze. However, there is no guarantee that all costs will be covered by your policy.

While policies will vary, there are some everyday items covered. Most insurers will cover:

  • Tearing out walls for burst pipe access
  • Repairs to damaged property
  • Repairs and restoration to walls

Most insurance companies will not cover the cost to repair the section of the broken pipe. Pipes that freeze are often the result of maintenance issues, meaning it is not covered by insurance. Therefore, it is vital to focus on prevention this winter. Contact a water remediation specialist in Colorado Springs, CO, for insight into more specifics.

Avoid an Insurance Claim By Following These 5 Protective Plumbing Practices

A burst pipe from freezing can result in significant property and water damage. Thankfully, preventing such issues is simple with some basic maintenance practices. If you plan on going on vacation this winter, make sure to adhere to the following five strategies.

1. Insulate

Do you have any exposed plumbing? Sometimes, a house will have pipes running through a garage or outdoors. You want to make sure that you insulate any exposed pipes with a foam roll or insulating tape.

It is also beneficial to insulate pipes under sinks or that are exposed in the basement. While these areas are often protected against lower temperatures, preparing for emergencies like outages is best.

2. Protect

Many houses have outdoor faucets or fixtures. You will want to disconnect any hoses from these fixtures to allow for proper drainage. Failing to remove hoses can result in frozen and broken faucets, resulting in property damage. If there is a separate shut-off valve, it is best to turn the water off and allow the fixture to drain.

3. Heat

One of the worst things you can do when leaving your house in the winter is turn off your heat. While you probably want to save money, your plumbing requires heat to function correctly. While you can turn down the thermostat, try to avoid going below 55° Fahrenheit.

4. Run

One of the best things you can do in the winter, especially in the coldest areas of your home, is run the water. You do not have to turn faucets on full force either. Essentially, you want to turn on your faucet so that it drips slowly. A slow drip will help keep water moving instead of freezing.

5. Drain

If you will be traveling this winter, it is likely best to shut off the main water supply to your home and drain the system. Draining the system is straightforward; you merely turn on the faucets in your home until no more water is coming out. Draining ensures there is nothing in the pipes to freeze.

While an insurance claim will typically cover the damage caused by a burst pipe, it will not cover the pipe repair. It is best to take preventative action to avoid a break, to begin with.

Tips for Preventing Mold in Humid Climates

11/12/2021 (Permalink)

Black mold Prevent mold and humidity to avoid your building getting vulnerable in Colorado Springs, CO.

There are a lot of places for mold to hide in your commercial building. When high humidity in Colorado Springs, CO, creates an atmosphere that leaves your building vulnerable to mold, it can be a challenge for even the best mold mitigation experts to get rid of the problem for good. It's better to prevent fungus from growing in the first place.

Tips to keep a mold problem at bay.

Use Mold-Resistant Materials

Some items are more prone to mold growth than others. Anything fibrous, such as wood or carpet, can easily become a breeding ground for spores. You can discourage growth by choosing materials that resist mold:

  • Plastic
  • Steel or other metals
  • Glass
  • Drywall with fiberglass coating
  • Fungus-resistant paint

Control Indoor Humidity

You can't do much about how humid it gets outside, but you can control humidity levels inside your building. Mold thrives in a damp, warm environment, so anything you can do to prevent these two factors also discourages growth. Keep your air conditioner running properly at 70 degrees (even overnight) to perpetuate airflow and keep the building cool. Use a dehumidifier to remove excess moisture from the air. Clean up spills quickly so that they don't attract spores. The better you curb high humidity levels, the less likely you are to have a mold problem.

Watch for Condensation

Even if the air in your building is regulated carefully, mold damage can still occur if there is a leak or condensation. To prevent moisture buildup on your AC unit, set the thermostat to automatic rather than just leaving the fan running. This gives condensation a chance to dissipate. Make sure that you have enough units to adequately service the size of your building so that they don't get overworked. Maintain all equipment that uses water so that leaks don't become an issue.

Set a Reliable Cleaning Schedule

It's easy to let any space that doesn't get daily use get dusty. However, failure to ensure that your whole building is cleaned regularly can lead to a mold problem. In addition to moisture and warmth, dust and other organic matter also contribute to mold growth by feeding the spores that settle on dirty surfaces. A clean environment helps prevent growth.

Conduct Regular Inspections

There are many reasons to stay current on your inspection schedule. If you live in a humid area, preventing the need for mold clean-up is a key concern. Check the perimeter of your building to ensure that water isn't getting in from the outside. Have your roof inspected, particularly before and after storm season. Walk the building at least once a month and look for signs of water damage, which can easily lead to a mold problem. The more vigilant you are about prevention, the less you have to worry about costly, time-consuming repairs.

Preventing high humidity in your building may be more of a challenge when it's humid outside, but it's not impossible. By following these tips and taking the necessary precautions, you can create an indoor environment where mold is unlikely to thrive.

How To Successfully Navigate Your Flood Insurance Claim

10/24/2021 (Permalink)

Blue home in the water. After flood damage in your Colorado Springs, CO, home, contact a professional to know what to do.

When your Colorado Springs, CO, home has been affected by flood damage, knowing which steps to take and how to prioritize those actions can be crucial. Along the way, you'll deal with many professionals who are involved in the recovery process:

  • Insurance agents
  • Adjusters
  • Building inspectors
  • Cleanup and recovery technicians

Each step of the recovery process will proceed more smoothly as you communicate and coordinate well with these service providers, especially if you fully understand your flood insurance coverage.

Working With Flood Insurance Professionals While Representing Yourself

It's important to remember that the main priority of some of these professionals, such as insurance agents and adjusters, is to keep their costs low. When it comes to making sure that quality services, procedures, and goods are being used, you are the primary person responsible.

Tips for Working With Your Insurance Agent

You may receive advice telling you to wait to make repairs until after an insurance representative or adjuster visits your property. This is a tough situation because the insurance company may give you trouble for taking action before inspections. However, it doesn't take long for water damage to get worse, increasing the costs of cleanup and repairs.

  • Take action immediately. Contact your insurance company right away, request a certified copy of your flood insurance policy, and ask about the best way to submit proof of loss.
  • Keep a detailed, written record of every conversation you have with the insurance company. Your record should include the date, the time, names of the people you talked to, and the gist of the conversation.
  • Reach out to third-party professionals for damage estimates. It's best to have at least three to be sure you get enough money for the necessary repairs.
  • Document everything before beginning any cleanup efforts. Take pictures and videos of all damage, keep receipts, and write up any explanations.
  • Hold onto damaged items to show the insurance company.

Tips for Working With Adjusters

The insurance adjuster works on behalf of the insurance company and will be looking for ways to keep your claim low. Adjusters are also very busy, so you may have a long wait until the professional shows up. You may have better success if you hire a public adjuster to represent you as you work with professionals from your insurance company.

  • Save copies of the pictures, videos, and written descriptions to share with adjusters.
  • Provide pictures of your home before the damage happened.
  • Contact a realtor for a copy of the most current property inspector's appraisal and findings.
  • Obtain appraisals from your mortgage provider and other lenders.
  • Start preparing an itemized list of everything in your home that was damaged, including items such as toiletries. Include detailed descriptions, brand names, costs, and whether you have receipts.

It may not be wise to start repairs before you have a go-ahead from the insurance company, but you can take emergency and mitigation steps. These include hiring an emergency cleanup and mitigation company to remove standing water, move soaked materials to a dry place, and board up doors and windows. These services that prevent mold damage and other secondary harm may well be covered by your flood insurance policy.

How To Use a Fire Extinguisher for a Home Fire

10/19/2021 (Permalink)

Woman using an extinguisher in her kitchen. It is essential to have an extinguisher in your Colorado Springs, CO home to prevent the fire spread.

A house fire can happen without warning and get out of control in an instant. Many people don't think about this scenario until it's too late, so it's helpful to learn about the different types of house fires and how to prevent or mitigate fire damage.

Three types of fire extinguishers are used in homes:

  • Type A extinguishers are manufactured to manage common materials fires (e.g., paper, cloth, wood).
  • Type B extinguishers are created for use with flammable and combustible liquids (e.g., oil, grease, gasoline).
  • Type C extinguishers are built to control electrical fires (e.g., appliances, televisions, hairdryers, power tools).

Ideally, you'll have a fire extinguisher accessible in different areas of your Colorado Springs, CO, home for the type of fire that is most likely. For example, type A for an office or living room, type B for a garage or kitchen, and type C for a hallway or recreational room.

Tips for Avoiding Fire Damage

1. Be Careful With Candles

Candles can give the room a pleasant scent while providing an atmosphere that doesn't compare with light bulbs. However, you must be very careful with candles. Keep them on a sturdy surface and away from flammable materials (e.g., curtains, papers). Also, never leave them burning unattended and leave them out of reach of children and pets.

2. Maintain Your Dryer

Remember to clean your lint trap every time you do a new load of laundry. Fire damage restoration experts will advise you to also clean behind the dryer to clear it of lint and clothing items. These materials can be highly flammable when exposed to the heat of the dryer.

3. Keep Toaster, Stove, and Oven Clean

Keep your kitchen cooking appliances such as your toaster, stove, and oven clean. Crumbs, oil, and grease can flame up quickly when the surface gets hot.

4. Have Working Fire Extinguishers on Hand

Always have an easily accessible fire extinguisher for every part of your home. Inspect them regularly to make sure they will work when you need them.

5. Monitor Cooking Food

Avoid a kitchen fire by closely watching cooking food. Don't leave the kitchen area unattended while you're cooking. Teach everyone how to put out different types of kitchen fires safely.

6. Maintain Smoke Detectors

It's vital to your family's well-being to have working smoke detectors in every part of your home and maintain them. Make sure you replace the battery in each detector at least twice a year and test the alarm. Also, keep them free of dust and debris that can build up. You can lightly vacuum, blow with canned air or wipe the casing off with a damp cloth.

7. Safely Store Combustible Products

You may be surprised at how many products in your household can combust relatively easily. Keep these materials, such as hairspray, air fresheners, household cleaners, and shaving cream, away from heat sources like space heaters.

The key to avoiding a house fire is knowing what to do and not to do to be safe. Being cautious around heat sources and open flames is essential. Ensure everyone knows how to safely put out different types of fires and how to use a fire extinguisher.